Keeping in view the long-time security-centred nature of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations, Kabul River Basin, a highly significant geographical and thematic area of concern, requires immediate attention of authorities. However, the issue remains virtually absent from the script of inter-state relations and diplomacy. The key proposition in this study is that if the transboundary basin management discourse about the Kabul River Basin can be changed from water-sharing to benefit-sharing across the water, food, and energy sectors, the social conditions and political will needed for long-term state-to-state engagement can be created without jeopardizing the lives and livelihoods of basin-dependent communities during the intervening period.
In terms of having water resources, Afghanistan has a considerable advantage in comparison to its neighbors. However, war and other various factors have limited the country’s ability to make use of these resources. Water infrastructure—including dams, water storage tanks, irrigation and water supply networks, hydrometric stations and metrology systems, and sewage and sanitation systems—is limited and inefficient.
In recent years, the role and position of civil society organizations in dealing with local and regional crises are seen considering a new approach that requires finding common grounds, exchange of ideas and cooperation among civil society organizations functional in that specific region. Afghanistan and Pakistan have had complex and at times fragile political and security relations and in the meanwhile the two countries are tied in an unavoidable and undeniable trade and economic interdependency.
Water quantity and quality are deteriorating and the struggle among all common water users is likely to intensify. This may become even more visible in river basins that cross political boundaries of different countries. History reveals that in many situations, this mutual need may bring strategic cooperation rather than open conflict, and lead to peaceful solutions to water disputes. Over the last 67 years, we have witnessed only 37 severe water disputes globally, in comparison to 295 water cooperation treaties (UN Water 2008: 3).
Water resource allocation is a long-ignored issue in Afghanistan. While the water potential of Afghanistan is estimated to be 75billion m3/ year on average, Afghanistan ranks lowest in water storage capacity.
Women in Afghanistan have achieved significant progress in terms of working in public life since the international intervention in 2001. Despite of insecurity, patriarchal attitudes and discriminatory mindsets they have effective presence in parliament, media, government and civil society to contribute in democratization and stability of the country.
Since the fall of the Taliban, Youth have emerged as an important political and economic force in Afghanistan. They are one of the most important demographic groups, with nearly two-third of the population being under the age of 25 years.
Successful elections and political transition in 2014 are crucial for the future relationship between Afghanistan and the international community. Traditional elites are somewhat ambiguous regarding the elections.
Current military operations in the region led by international and Afghan forces, as well as diplomatic pressure on neighboring countries are part of counterinsurgency efforts to stabilize Khost province.